First, Barack Obama won’t make a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, until House Republicans force his hand and he denies approval. Then Obama claims to want an “all of the above” energy policy and the White House “welcomes” the news that TransCanada would start building the pipeline anyway. Just how “welcome” was that news? According to Politico, Obama has begun to lobby Senate Democrats against an effort that would expedite approval for Keystone:
President Barack Obama is intervening in a Senate fight over the Keystone XL oil pipeline and personally lobbying Democrats to reject an amendment calling for its construction, according to several sources familiar with the talks.
The White House lobbying effort, including phone calls from the president to Democrats, signals that the vote could be close when it heads to the floor Thursday. The president is trying to defeat an amendment that would give election-year fodder to his Republican critics who have accused him of blocking a job-creating energy project at a time of high gas prices.
The pipeline would create 20,000 jobs and provide a much-needed expansion of North American oil resources to American refineries in the Gulf of Mexico. Even the NYT’s Joe Nocera recognizes the ability of Keystone and the massive amounts of natural gas in the US to free us of our dependency on overseas oil resources. Obama’s own State Department — on which Obama tried to lay the blame for the permit rejection — stated in a report that the Keystone pipeline was strategically critical for the US, and that the risk to the environment was overstated:
TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s proposed $7 billion pipeline to Gulf Coast refiners poses “no significant impacts to most resources” along its route across six states, a U.S. State Department environmental review found. …
The pipeline is needed to maintain supplies of heavy crude oil to Gulf Coast refineries as imports decline, according to today’s State Department report. Imports from Mexico andVenezuela are falling while refining capacity in the Gulf Coast is projected to rise by 500,000 barrels a day by 2020.
Alberta oil is separated from sand and clay with intense heat in a process that releases more greenhouse gases than pumping conventional crude. Representative Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, has said the pipeline will carry “the dirtiest source of transportation fuel” available.
With gas prices spiking upward, voters will wonder why Obama seems so keen on blocking a pipeline that will create jobs, bring more supply on line, improve the US strategic position on energy, and pose little risk to the environment. That doesn’t look at all like an “all of the above” solution, or a “welcoming” attitude, does it?